Steamtown or Bust (except hopefully not bust)

September 4th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Fitness

About a month ago, my crazy running friend Shawn got the crazy idea that we should put our names on the waiting list to run the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  This is the same dude we watched participate in the Lake Placid Ironman this year – thus confirming his insanity.

Steamtown is known for being one of the fastest marathon courses in the country, which makes it a really popular race.  Many people want to run this race to increase their chance at qualifying for the Boston Marathon – and I totally get that.

It didn’t cost anything to put my name on the list, so I agreed.  I told myself that if we got in, I would consider it fate and it would mean I was supposed to run it.  The field is capped at 2,620 runners – and when I got on the wait list, there were more than 500 people ahead of me.  I figured Fate wasn’t likely – but I’ll admit there was a crazy little part of me that was a little excited about this crazy possibility.

Crazy mostly because I’ve done practically ZERO long distance training this summer.

But what do you know!  As luck would have it – Fate sent me an email a couple days ago.

Steamtown Marathon

Congratulations?  I’m thinking that should have read:

“Look what you’ve gotten yourself into now you crazy woman!  What are you gonna do?”

What am I gonna do?  I’m gonna close my eyes and click “register”, that’s what I’m gonna do!

Complete Reg

And register I did.

OK so my eyes were open when I registered, and I did give it some serious consideration before I agreed to do it.

The biggest factor in my decision to sign up for the race would be strategy.  A strategy that does not involve smuggling a bike into the race or hitchhiking to the finish.

I’ve recently come to learn more about running 26.2 miles without a lot of distance training under your belt.  I wouldn’t attempt (or recommend!) this strategy without being a seasoned runner, but I also wouldn’t try this if I didn’t believe it was legit.  It will be a challenge, no doubt – but I’m excited about it!  I’ll also admit I’ve wavered between “Totally Excited” and “Totally Scared” more than once in the last week here.

The other deciding factor was Brendan Brazier.

Seriously.  I’m so thankful to have read Thrive Fitness earlier this summer.  In Thrive Fitness he goes into further detail about his experience with nutrition and the role it played in his becoming a highly successful professional athlete.  I am totally convinced that proper, targeted nutrition can give you a leg up on training.

The 2011 Steamtown Marathon Training Plan:

1. Run/Walk Approach

I’m still learning more about this – but in short, the How to Run a Marathon Without Months of Distance Training Strategy is to run between water stops.  At each aid station you take a short break to stretch, drink, re-fuel and walk a bit before taking off again.  This helps delay the build up of lactic acid in your muscles (lactic acid = pain and fatigue) and to save you from “hitting the wall” toward the end of the race.  The Steamtown Marathon has aid stations about every two miles – so really, it’s just like 13, two mile intervals!  Come on – how hard could that be?!!

(ask me that again at aid station #10 and #13 on October 9th)

The goal for this race is about completing the distance with a smile on my face.  I will be running SLOW.  There will be no attempts at Boston qualifying this year, that’s for damn sure.

2. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

I plan to follow Brendan’s advice to the letter for the next month here.

We Totally Got This

That’s right we do! my brother from another mother!

I am currently re-devouring Thrive and finding his sections on post-workout nutrition and timing much more relevant this time around.  I absolutely believe his information and advice is going to make a substantial difference in my training and recovery between long runs.

3. Gradually Increase Mileage

The race is 5 weeks from today, so that gives me about 4 weeks to get some long runs in and build up to some higher mileage weeks, using the week leading up to the race to taper and rest.

So that’s that!  If you’ve ever wanted to know how to run a marathon on short notice – stay tuned.  I’m going to show you and me both how to do it.  (gulp.)

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2 Responses

  • sarah says:

    damn, girl. and here I am, bowing out of an upcoming (admittedly home-grown and unofficial, family-only) half marathon. I look forward to hearing how you train for this. I’ve only done half m’s, and I’m also a devotee of jeff galloway so I walk one minute after every eight minutes. as john and yoko say, “whatever gets you through the night”.

  • Jennifer says:

    Super cool, Alison! I’m sure you will breeze through this marathon. :)